The 2018/19 season may only have reached Matchday 3, but it is already time for one of the LaLiga Santander’s blockbuster fixtures.
Real Betis and Sevilla FC will meet this Sunday evening at Betis’ Benito Villamarín Stadium for the first Seville derby of the new season. This will be the earliest these two teams have met in a LaLiga Santander season since they faced off over 30 years ago on the opening weekend of the 1987/88 campaign.
This makes an already spicy derby even more mouth-watering, as the result could set the tone for the rest of the season. Both teams’ squads are still getting used to playing with each other, but there is no such thing as dress rehearsal when it comes to ‘El Gran Derbi.’
This derby match means everything to the fans, who will demand, as always, that their heroes approach it like a cup final.
Real Betis, nicknamed Los Verdiblancos (‘The Green and Whites’), finished above their city rivals last year in sixth, while Sevilla, who also go by the name of Los Rojiblancos (‘The Red and Whites’), finished in seventh.
Sevilla will be desperate to earn a first derby victory since February 2017, especially after Betis’ stunning 5-3 away win at the Sanchez-Pizjuan in January.
At this early stage in the season, it is too soon to know exactly what these clubs will be competing for come. It is more than likely, though, that they will both be in the mix for European qualification. Both have had busy summers in terms of player acquisition, and there is an expectation amongst fans of both sides that their teams are more than good enough to secure a European spot once again.
Betis will need a positive result to start their campaign off on the right foot. They are yet to score this season despite racking up an average of 72.3% possession in their opening two games, and were punished on the counter attack in the home opener against Levante before picking up a goalless draw at Alaves on Matchday 2.
Sevilla’s start has been more positive, winning 4-1 away at LaLiga Santander new boys, Rayo Vallecano, before playing out a goalless draw with fellow European contenders, Villarreal.